Face it Tiger - A Brief Look at the Life of Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Part 2 - Mania.com

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Face it Tiger - A Brief Look at the Life of Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Part 2

We give you a quick look at the lady who married the Spider

By Arnold T. Blumberg     July 17, 2002

As if once wasn't enough, MJ had to endure another kidnapping until Spidey saved her in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #29.
© Marvel Characters Inc.
When last we left Mary Jane Watson, she had been frightened at the prospect of marrying Peter Parker and left New York and our hero's life. While Pete soldiered on and dated some other ladies - including temporary crime-fighting partner and former criminal the Black Cat - he knew that one day MJ would have to come back. There was too much between them, too much history, and they were destined to be together. And of course, Peter - and the readers who agreed with him - were right.

In AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #243, MJ finally returned after a significant absence. She had spent time in Florida but was ready to resume the party in New York with Peter...and she had an incredible secret to reveal. According to MJ, she had known for some time before Peter's proposal that he was actually the web-spinning Spider-Man! But when did she find out? Well, we've learned from experience that it often helps not to worry yourself too much about details like that. Suffice to say, MJ knew, and that knowledge was part of the reason she couldn't face the prospect of marrying the part-time superhero.

Mary Jane went through hell during Todd McFarlane's AMAZING SPIDER-MAN run.

When the floodgates opened, they couldn't be shut again. MJ not only laid that part of her past bare but also filled in ol' Pete on the sordid details of her dark abusive past, a backstory subtly touched upon in altered form in the feature film version as well. But through this triumphant return, we learned the details of a life spent covering up her true emotions with the party girl façade we remembered so well from the Romita Sr. era. It all fell into place, and now here we were with two very good friends sharing secrets and some very deep feelings. But what to do about it?

In AMAZING SPIDER-MAN Vol. 2 #13, Mary Jane takes a terrifying plane flight.

Take it from Spider-Man: Sometimes all you have to do is persevere. Proposing again in AMAZING #290, the landmark wedding of the wall-crawler and his redheaded main squeeze took place under two variant covers (an oddity at that time) in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #21. The wedding dress itself proved to be the biggest star of the story. It was designed for MJ - and Marvel Comics - by famous real-world fashion designer, the late Willi Smith. And so the two lovers lived happily ever after.

One of the two wedding covers for AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #21 featured Peter Parker in plainclothes.

Come on, are you kidding? You didn't buy that for a minute, did you? Around this time, newcomer Todd McFarlane began illustrating the increasingly surreal adventures of the web-spinner and transformed MJ from a seductive party girl with bangs into a top-heavy, billowy-haired sexpot who embarked on a profitable career as a model, actress...and professional victim. Perhaps it was the marriage to a superhero that created this new syndrome, but from the moment the vows were spoken, MJ almost immediately became a constant target of lunatics and murderous creatures bent on terrorizing her. There was Jonathan Caesar, a wealthy stalker who kept her prisoner, and then there was her mentally-scarring meeting with Venom. It was almost a never-ending nightmare for the poor girl, and it was about to get worse.

One of the two wedding covers for AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #21 featured Peter Parker in his superhero union suit.

In a still unresolved storyline (unless you believe the SPIDER-GIRL series takes place in primary continuity), MJ became pregnant only to seemingly lose the baby, while in reality the child was abducted right out of the hospital by Parker's arch-enemy, the Green Goblin. Yup, the selfsame Norman Osborn who killed Gwen - he just couldn't leave Peter alone. Despite attempts to revitalize her career and marriage, MJ was suffering from quite a few accumulated tons of trauma. And then another stalker showed up to torment Spider-Man's wife. MJ boarded a plane in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN Volume 2 #13, and the airliner exploded. Was she gone for good? Nah, you're too gullible. She was spirited away by Stalker #2 and eventually rescued by her devoted hubby in #29 - he had never quite accepted her death anyway. But when they were reunited, Mary Jane decided enough was enough. It was time to separate and allow her a chance to "find herself" again.

MJ was back to stay in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #243.

So will the two lovebirds eventually get back together? It seems inevitable. Even if Mary Jane's status as Mrs. Spider-Man didn't guarantee her a certain degree of protection from sudden death - creators would be reluctant to kill off a character that has demonstrated such staying power and intrinsic value to the Spider-mythos - the film probably cemented her position for all time. So one day, perhaps soon, Peter and Mary Jane will almost certainly be reunited and resume their stormy marriage, interrupted only by Pete's occasional need to don those red and blue long johns in the service of justice and the common good. But no matter when that happens, he knows that MJ will be waiting for him. And then watch out tiger, because the real party will just be getting started!


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